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Acting and Speaking

Graded Examinations, Performance Certificates

Syllabus from 2010

Trinity Guildhall
89 Albert Embankment
London SE1 7TP UK
T +44 (0)20 7820 6100
F +44 (0)20 7820 6161
E drama@trinityguildhall.co.uk
www.trinityguildhall.co.uk
Patron HRH The Duke of Kent KG
Director of Performing & Creative Arts Examinations
Mark Stringer GMusRNCM(Hons) FTCL ARCO(CHM) ARCM PGCE FRSA
Chief Examiner in Drama & Speech Subjects
John Gardyne MA BA(Hons) Dip Theatre Studies
Copyright © 2009 Trinity College London
Published by Trinity College London
First edition, October 2009
Foreword

Foreword
It gives me great pleasure to introduce the new Trinity Guildhall syllabuses for Grade and Certificate
qualifications in Drama & Speech subjects, applicable to all examinations from 1 January 2010.
I am confident that no other awarding body in the world offers such breadth of choice for students and
teachers of the performing arts at all levels of experience and ability.
Such is the range of study options now available, Grade, Certificate and Diploma qualifications are now
presented in six separate publications as follows:
◗ Young Performers Certificates
◗ Grade and Certificate Examinations in Acting and Speaking (this syllabus)
◗ Grade and Certificate Examinations in Musical Theatre and Performance Arts
◗ Grade and Certificate Examinations in Communication Skills
◗ Diplomas in Drama & Speech Subjects
◗ Speech Communication Arts (limited availability).
It is a measure of the academic rigour and integrity of our qualifications that the learning outcomes,
assessment criteria and attainment descriptors that have applied over the last five years remain
virtually unchanged.
In reviewing the requirements for examinations we have, however, made various changes to those in
the previous edition of the syllabus and a summary of these can be found in Appendix 3. Changes have
been made with the intention of offering candidates additional opportunities to develop, display and
integrate their skills, knowledge and understanding in their chosen field of study.
I sincerely hope that teachers and students alike will find the exploration of our syllabuses a stimulating,
challenging and educative activity in itself, and that it will provide a practical and inspirational framework
for creative learning and teaching. The standards and expectations are high but the rewards in terms of
satisfaction and personal development are considerable.
Copies of all syllabuses listed above and additional guidance and information can be downloaded
from our website www.trinityguildhall.co.uk/drama. While preparing for examinations, teachers and
candidates are encouraged to visit the website regularly and to share ideas, opinions and experiences
with others worldwide via the forum facility.

I wish you well in your endeavours.

John Gardyne MA BA(Hons) Dip Theatre Studies


Chief Examiner in Drama & Speech Subjects

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Overview

Overview
All Trinity Guildhall Grade examinations in Drama & Speech subjects for individuals and pairs are
accredited in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by Ofqual, WAG and CCEA respectively and also
have recognition in a number of other countries.
Examinations are categorised at three attainment levels which are benchmarked as follows to the
Levels of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF)* in England, Wales and Northern Ireland:
◗ Foundation (Grades 1–3) — Level 1
◗ Intermediate (Grades 4–5) — Level 2
◗ Advanced (Grades 6–8) — Level 3.
Grades 1–3 typically relate to work at a standard comparable to that done in the UK in primary schools
and the initial years of secondary schools, depending on the learner.
Grades 4–5 typically relate to work at a standard comparable to that done in the UK in secondary
schools by students aged approximately 12–15 in preparation for relevant GCSE examinations.
Grades 6–8 typically relate to work at a standard comparable to that done in the UK in secondary
schools by students aged approximately 15–18 working towards relevant A level examinations in
preparation for higher education study in the performing arts. In the UK, Grade examinations
accredited at Level 3 of the NQF carry points for university entry on the UCAS tariff system.
While there are no minimum age limits imposed for entry at any grade, teachers should ensure that
potential candidates have achieved an appropriate level of physical, vocal, emotional and intellectual
maturity to meet the published learning outcomes and assessment criteria for the relevant attainment
band prior to registration for examination.
While candidates may enter at any grade they choose, the syllabus is designed to provide a structured
framework for progressive development of skills over time. Some suggested study pathways are
illustrated in the diagram overleaf.

* The NQF is being superseded by the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) during 2010. Trinity Guildhall 5
Grade examinations will be included within this Framework.
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Acting and Speaking
Introduction

Introduction to
Acting and Speaking subjects
Trinity Guildhall Grade examinations are designed to encourage candidates from all countries and
cultures to engage with as wide a variety of performance activities and materials as possible while
developing their skills within an integrated framework of assessment.
The range of study options available both in this Acting and Speaking syllabus and in the related
Drama & Speech subject syllabuses reflect the many and varied contexts and cultures in which
candidates experience, rehearse and perform different types of material.
Examinations may be taken by individuals, by pairs or by groups of three or more. There is no
maximum group size.
All examinations offer candidates opportunities to demonstrate performance skills appropriate to
their individual interests and aspirations.
Candidates for solo and pair examinations additionally undertake various tasks that enable them
to display supporting skills such as sight reading, story-telling and improvisation.
Candidates also engage with the examiner in conversation/discussion in order to display their
knowledge and understanding both of repertoire and of the range of techniques that may be employed
for effective and engaging performance.
Within the specific requirements of the syllabus, the choice of repertoire and performance pieces is
entirely the candidate’s own.
There are no prerequisites for any of these examinations. Candidates may enter examinations at
whatever grade they wish and it is hoped that they and their teachers will be encouraged to explore
the opportunities offered across the whole range of syllabuses.

A note on language
Examinations are conducted in English.
It is accepted that candidates from many parts of the world with English as a second or foreign
language may have distinctive features of pronunciation, grammar and/or vocabulary which conform
to the model prevalent in their own linguistic or cultural group.
There is no requirement for candidates to conform linguistically to all features of British Standard
English or Received Pronunciation. However, candidates’ oral communication must be rooted in an
internationally accepted model of English which does not impose difficulty of comprehension or
undue strain for the listener.

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Learning outcomes and assessment criteria

Learning outcomes and


assessment criteria
Foundation (Grades 1–3, NQF Level 1)
Learning outcomes Assessment criteria
The learner will: The learner can:
1. employ appropriate physical and vocal 1.1 produce a performance which demonstrates understanding
resources to engage the audience and thoughtful interpretation with a free and fluent delivery,
through performance a sense of spontaneity, and conscious awareness of audience,
sustaining these qualities to the end
1.2 perform from memory, audibly and clearly and mostly
accurately
2. respond to the quality, form and content 2. demonstrate creative engagement with the materials and
of the material being presented careful preparation
3. adopt and sustain a role using space 3.1 create and convey mood (e.g. humour, fear) through
creatively and effectively variations in volume, pace and pitch
3.2 make appropriate use of body and space to complement
vocal performance

Intermediate (Grades 4–5, NQF Level 2)


Learning outcomes Assessment criteria
The learner will: The learner can:
1. employ appropriate physical and 1.1 demonstrate a personal and imaginative interpretation in
vocal resources to engage the which there is reasonably consistent application of developing
audience through an imaginative technical skills
and sustained performance 1.2 perform in an audible and clear manner with appropriate
articulation (e.g. volume, pitch, pace, rhythm, style, dynamics)
leading to a secure, accurate and sustained performance,
which also conveys a sense of spontaneity
2. respond sensitively to the quality, 2.1 support intentions in performance by demonstrating a sound
form and content of the material understanding of material
being presented 2.2 show clear evidence of sensitivity to and considerable control
of the material, which is grounded in effective preparation
3. adopt and sustain a role using 3.1 communicate shades of meaning and contrasts, for example,
space creatively and effectively to of characterisation and mood
enhance meaning 3.2 combine the use of voice, body and space effectively to enhance
meaning and interpretation and to engage the audience

Advanced (Grades 6–8, NQF Level 3)


Learning outcomes Assessment criteria
The learner will: The learner can:
1. employ appropriate integrated physical 1.1 perform with confidence, clarity and a sense of ownership of
and vocal resources to engage the the material
audience in a performance which shows 1.2 consciously integrate knowledge, understanding and skills in
a sense of ownership a secure and sustained performance
2. respond with authority and mature 2.1 demonstrate mature understanding of the material
understanding to the quality, form and 2.2 demonstrate authority and control through thorough and
content of the material being presented relevant preparation
3. adopt and sustain a role using space 3.1 combine skilful and appropriate use of voice, body and
creatively and effectively to convey space with imaginative response and flair, to engage the
complexity of meaning audience wholeheartedly
3.2 demonstrate a discriminating and sensitive personal
interpretation of the material, which conveys complexity
and range of meaning (e.g. in mood, atmosphere,
characterisation, feeling)

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Attainment descriptors for Acting and Speaking

Attainment descriptors for


Acting and Speaking
The following table describes the levels of attainment required for the allocation of marks in the
Distinction, Merit, Pass and Below Pass bands.

Foundation level Intermediate level Advanced level


(Grades 1–3) (Grades 4–5) (Grades 6–8)
Distinction Distinction Distinction
Work that demonstrates sustained Work that demonstrates a secure, Work that achieves richness and
delivery, some sense of spontaneity accurate and sustained response a sense of total performance
and a conscious awareness of to the chosen material. A sense through a synthesis of advanced
audience. There will be evident of spontaneity and personal performance skills at a level
command of appropriate technical involvement will be achieved of sustained excellence.
skills and a keen awareness of through the employment of a wide Sophistication of interpretation
the performance demands, the range of performance skills that will be demonstrated through a
meaning and the quality of the effectively engage an audience. sense of originality and a wholly
chosen material. independent response to the
material performed.

Merit Merit Merit


Work of some originality with a Work that demonstrates a Understanding will be
thoughtful and fluent response to considerable level of control of demonstrated by a mature and
the performance demands of the the material and a relatively wide imaginative commitment of the
chosen material. A good level of range of performance skills. There material. This will result in a
audibility and clarity, enhanced by will be appropriate establishment performance of some complexity,
suitable variations in dynamics, of mood and character and a using a wide range of advanced
pace and pitch. level of sensitivity to the needs performance skills effectively.
of the audience.
Pass Pass Pass
Work that demonstrates Work that demonstrates a Work that demonstrates some
understanding and learning of reasonable control of the evidence of mature understanding
the text. Although the range chosen material and a range of presented with an element of
of performance skills may be appropriate performance skills. identification with the material.
somewhat limited there will be There will be some attempt to Performance skills are integrated
basic audibility and clarity and engage an audience and convey a and used with some assurance.
some imaginative response to sense of personal involvement in
the chosen material. the ideas communicated.
Below Pass Below Pass Below Pass
Work that shows significant Work that may show lack of Work in which some skills may
limitations in performing, learning preparation and control of be evident but are insufficiently
and understanding. There may performance skills (even though integrated or contain significant
be evidence of inadequate some may be evident). At best, lapses in technical achievement.
preparation and an inability to the performance may be sporadic There may be inadequate
relate to the chosen material. in its attempt to communicate preparation and inappropriate
effectively. response to the material.

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Guidance on selecting material for performance

Guidance on selecting material


for performance

Foundation level (Grades 1–3)


At this level material should be of sufficient length to allow candidates to show their ability to establish and
sustain their performance and interpretation. Content should go beyond easily recognisable events and stories
so that candidates can begin to explore emotions, moods and atmosphere outside their immediate experience
(e.g. from other periods). The language should contain a variety of expressive vocabulary and a range of
syntax, offering some opportunity for interpretative choices.

Intermediate level (Grades 4–5)


At this level material should be substantial enough to convey some development, both in terms of authors’
intentions and candidates’ interpretation and performance. Content should be sufficiently complex to provide
some internal contrast and range, for example in terms of theme, character, situation or mood, and provide
opportunity for candidates to begin to explore more universal themes. There should be stylistic variety of
language and literary form. Subtleties of vocabulary and syntax should provide opportunity for a variety of
approaches and interpretative choices.

Advanced level (Grades 6–8)


At this level material should be drawn from significant authors, past and present, from the field of world
literature. It should be selected in line with some acknowledged principles, for example, coverage of different
genres and styles or coherence/contrast of theme, setting, character, mood. Overall length and demand should
be sufficient to enable variety and range of presentation to be demonstrated and sustained. Content should be
concerned with subjects of substance which include some depth of thought, enabling the candidate to engage
with complex emotions and universal themes. It should be such as to require analysis and reflection in the
preparation of performance and present challenging physical requirements in terms of articulation. The choice
of language and syntax should demand considerable inferential understanding and thoughtful interpretation
to reflect subtleties of meaning (e.g. metaphorical language, irony).

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Group examinations — Introduction

Group examinations — Introduction


Group examinations recognise the fact that the performing arts are frequently a collective activity
involving co-operation between a number of participants. Group Drama examinations offer groups of
three or more candidates the opportunity to present scenes from plays from contrasting periods of
dramatic literature and to develop scenes through improvisation both over an extended period and
spontaneously. A Group Shakespeare option is also offered.
Choral Speaking examinations offer groups of four or more candidates opportunities to perform poetry,
prose and dramatic literature in a sharply contrasting style, while the Plays in Production option enables
the cast, creative and backstage team of a complete production to offer their work for assessment.
When assessing group work, examiners will consider the overall achievement of the group as a whole and
the written report and mark awarded will reflect that. The total mark awarded will classify each group’s
performance as Below Pass, Pass, Merit or Distinction.
Each group member will be awarded a certificate giving his or her name, the name of the group and the
level of achievement. In addition, a further certificate will be awarded giving the name of the group only.
Additional certificates may be requested at the time of entry.

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Guidance for candidates on group examinations

Guidance for candidates


on group examinations
1. Candidates and teachers should refer to points 1–30 in the guidance for individual candidates on
pages 15–17.
2. All members of the group should as far as possible be given opportunities to make positive
contributions to the performance, although it is recognised that the contributions may not be
equal in substance or duration. Scenes or extracts in which one performer dominates the stage
throughout should be avoided.
3. Each scene must be introduced by the candidates before the performance, who should give a brief
outline of the characters, setting and context.
4. Performances for group examinations (other than Plays in Production) may be given with or
without costume, scenery, lighting, properties or other staging devices unless specifically required.
Candidates will not be given additional credit for performing with such devices. Plays entered
for Plays in Production must be fully staged with set, costume, props, sound, lighting and other
technical elements as appropriate.
5. A ‘scene developed through improvisation’ should have defined characters, a clear context and
some sense of dramatic development. Excessive use of narrators should be avoided. Candidates
should be fully familiar with all aspects of such scenes and have rehearsed them in their final form
before the examination. Candidates for Group Drama — Devised Grades 6–8 are required to provide
a full script of plays developed through improvisation. Handwritten manuscripts are not permitted.
6. Play extracts may be edited and subsidiary characters removed to create scenes suitable for
performance as long as the overall structure, sense and dramatic development remain clear.
7. Groups entered for Group Drama — Scripts and Plays in Production must provide a copy of the
entire play(s) to be performed or from which excerpts are drawn. Texts of Choral Speaking pieces
must be provided as for individual examinations (see guidance point 5, page 15).
8. For a definition of the term ‘a contemporary writer’ see guidance point 23, page 16. For definitions
of the terms ‘colloquial style’ and ‘non-colloquial style’ see guidance point 9, page 27.
9. Candidates are awarded marks for the range of performance skills they display. When ‘contrasting’
scenes or extracts are required, candidates are encouraged to select pieces that provide them with
opportunities to display their range of skills, both individually and as a group.
10. There is no discussion element in group examinations. However, examiners may engage in some
informal conversation before and/or after the performance in order to create a supportive
atmosphere and enhance the flow of the examination.
11. It may be possible for a live audience to be present for some group performances and Foundation,
Intermediate and Advanced Performance Certificates, as long as their presence does not impede
the running of the examination session. Please contact Trinity’s Head Office for further information
on this.

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Group Drama — Devised

Group Drama — Devised


Grade Group Drama — Devised (three candidates or more) Marks
Initial Introduce and perform a scene developed through improvisation 100
maximum based on a story. A brief outline to be given to the examiner before
8 minutes the performance.

Foundation
Grade 1 Introduce and perform a scene developed through improvisation 100
maximum based on an original, traditional or published story. A brief outline to
10 minutes be given to the examiner before the performance.
Grade 2 Introduce and perform a scene developed through improvisation 100
maximum based on a song or poem. Text to be given to the examiner before
12 minutes the performance.
Grade 3 Introduce and perform a scene developed through improvisation 100
maximum based on a photograph, drawing, painting or visual stimulus. A copy to
14 minutes be given to the examiner before the performance.

Intermediate
Grade 4 Introduce and perform a scene developed through improvisation 100
maximum based on a newspaper or magazine article. A copy of the article to be
16 minutes given to the examiner before performance.
Grade 5 1. Introduce and perform a scene developed through improvisation 80
maximum based on one of the following:
18 minutes ◗ Budget Airline
◗ Final Night
◗ The Apprentice
◗ The Legacy
◗ Obsession
◗ Under Siege.
(Approximately 12 minutes)
2. Introduce and perform an improvisation related to Task 1 on a theme 20
provided by the examiner. Candidates will be given one minute for
preparation.

Advanced
Grade 6 1. Introduce and perform an original scripted play devised by the 80
maximum group. Scripts to be given to the examiner before the performance.
20 minutes (Approximately 14 minutes)
2. Introduce and perform an improvisation on a theme provided by 20
the examiner, related to Task 1. Candidates will be given one minute
for preparation.
Grade 7 1. Introduce and perform from memory two contrasting original scripted 80
maximum plays devised by the group. Scripts to be given to the examiner before
23 minutes the performance.
(Approximately 16 minutes)
2. Introduce and perform an improvisation on a theme provided by the 20
examiner, related to one of the scripted plays. Candidates will be given
one minute for preparation.
Grade 8 1. Introduce and perform from memory two original scripted plays 80
maximum devised by the group. The plays must contrast in performance style
25 minutes but have some narrative or thematic relationship.
(Approximately 18 minutes)
2. Introduce and perform two improvisations based on stimuli provided 20
by the examiner, related to the two scripted plays. Candidates will be
given one minute for preparation.

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Group Drama — Scripts

Group Drama — Scripts


Grade Group Drama — Scripts (three candidates or more) Marks
Foundation
Grade 3 Introduce and perform from memory one or more extracts from 100
maximum a play.
14 minutes

Intermediate
Grade 4 Introduce and perform from memory one or more extracts from a play 100
maximum written in a colloquial style.
16 minutes
Grade 5 Introduce and perform from memory one or more extracts from a play 100
maximum written in verse or in a non-colloquial style.
18 minutes

Advanced
Grade 6 Introduce and perform from memory one or more extracts from a play 100
maximum written before 1900.
20 minutes
Grade 7 Introduce and perform from memory contrasting extracts from two 100
maximum plays, one by a contemporary writer and one from an earlier period
23 minutes of drama.
Grade 8 Perform from memory a themed programme of extracts from two or 100
maximum more contrasting plays, introduced and linked by relevant commentary
25 minutes as part of the performance.

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